Flooding: is it all water under the bridge? Pint of Science talks at the Best Western Plus Reading Moat House, Sindlesham – 16th May 2018


Pint of Science is coming to Reading for the first time this year, bringing new and exciting science to your local pub! During this event (taking place from Monday 14th to Wednesday 16th May 2018, in the evening), talks will be given by Reading University researchers, covering 3 main themes: Beautiful Mind, Our Body and Planet Earth. Each theme will run in parallel and take place in different venues.

As part of the Planet Earth theme, an evening on flood related talks will be hosted on 16th May from 7:30PM to 9:30PM (doors open at 7:00PM) in the Best Western Plus Reading Moat House at Sindlesham, a venue full of flood history.

Researchers from the University of Reading will take you on a journey down the river, from large scale atmospheric events to the flooding on your doorstep. The talks will give you an insight into the science of flood prediction, risk and people’s reaction to it, and will highlight some natural flood management solutions. In a venue full of flood history, you will find out why (the science of) flooding is not all water under the bridge!

More information can be found on the Pint of Science website.


Here’s a summary of the talks:

If I told you your home would flood next winter, would you believe me?

Predicting whether a flood will occur in the next few days is challenging. So how about predicting a flood months in advance?! Impossible? Not quite. Challenging? Definitely! Yet, the stakes are high, as this would give us more time to better prepare for these events and reduce their damage. During this talk, I will discuss how changes in and interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and on land can help us predict river levels months in advance.

Holding back the water with soil, grass and trees: Could natural flood management work?

Dr Joanna Clark (Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Director of the Loddon Observatory)
We can’t stop the rain, but we can influence how and where water is stored and moves through our natural and urban landscapes. How we use and manage land upstream can either increase or decrease the risk of flooding downstream. In this talk, we will explore how different trees, crops and soil management techniques could enhance the ability of large areas of land upstream to store water below ground; whilst also producing food, drinking water and supporting biodiversity. We will consider what we can all do to help, from small allotment to large country estate. We are all catchment managers.

To dredge or not to dredge: Politics or Flood Risk Management Solution?

Phiala Mehring (Trustee of the National Flood Forum, Chair of the Loddon Valley Residents Association & PhD Student)
How would you set about managing flooding? Dredge the river? Put up large flood defences? How effective would these be? A flood is water in the wrong place, well where ‘we’ deem is the wrong place. The problem is that when that ‘wrong place’ is someone’s lounge. Then it has serious negative consequences. It impacts their life, livelihood, health/welfare for years. Flooding seriously damages the quality of life for those it impacts. So, is a single action; a wall, dredging the river the solution or a political ploy to damped down (pun intended) the furore that comes with a large flood event?